Whether it be miraculously escaping from a straightjacket while being completely submerged in a tub of freezing cold water in under 30 seconds, or achieving the impossible by causing the Statue of Liberty to vanish into thin air in front of hundreds of thousands of people, magicians have stunned many throughout the ages. As a matter of fact, the craft of magical illusion has been around since the 15th century in the ancient civilization of Persia and is considered by many to be the oldest of the performing arts. To this day, illusion is still widely practiced by many well known magicians, including David Blaine, Chris Angel and David Copperfield. However, despite these performers’ great accomplishments and outstanding acts, their great talent has yet to be recognized by Congress to be among the performing arts.
On March 14, 2016, a proposal dubbed Resolution 642 was presented before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, proposing the “recognition of magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure and the effort to make certain that magic is preserved, understood, and promulgated [promoted or made widely known] to be supported.” According to an online poll, supporters of this petition include magicians David Copperfield and David Blaine, ten United States Representatives from eight different states, as well as 6,000 other anonymous people who want this resolution to pass. However, on September 22, 2015, a group of magic enthusiasts were able to propose a bill to Congress to proclaim a National Magic Week for years to come; it would begin on October 25 through October 31.
As an art form, magic should not only deserve the same respect, enthusiasm, and passion found in other performing arts, but also should be incorporated within the drama and art programs at schools across the nation. Creating these opportunities will not only grant one the opportunity to expand the limits of what a performing art can encompass, but will also allow one to incorporate his or her own creativity within a performance . For instance, if magic illusion was to be integrated within the drama department, a show would not only posses the same outstanding aspects such as beautiful background sets or the hysterical dialogue between actors, that are found in traditional style drama, but it would also contribute a more exciting, exceptionally visually appealing aura to the theatrical experience. For example, in some recent productions such as Broadway’s phenomenal work, “Wicked,” illusion, levitation and other magical devices are present throughout many scenes including the set in which the Witch sings the song “Defying Gravity” and appears to be magically ascending in doing so. Having these small “acts within the acts” doesn’t only make the performance more enjoyable overall, but in some cases may leave one in awe to wonder how that feat was accomplished. That is the beauty of magic.
What a better way to recognize magic week than to join the effort to have Congress pass this proposition once and for all. If you wish to support Resolution 642, please feel free to sign the online petition at https://hr642.com/.
Happy International Magic Week,
The Wa-Hi Journal